Bor and Eri stood in front of Jonathan’s bedroom door. Eri glanced at her brother and glanced at him with a snob look. Bor fixed his suit first and made sure it was clean and neat.
Eri turned away from Bor and checked her uniform: it was standard-issue attire consisting of a white turtle-neck with a deep blue blazer, a red and deep blue checkered skirt for females, or pants for males. Choosing to wear pants or skirts may differ based on personal preferences. As usual, they carried their trident on their back.
They both checked their breath for the final time before knocking on the door.
A few seconds from the first knock; no answer. They waited for another second until Eri sighed with impatience. The young woman was about to knock again, but Bor stopped her hand. “We don’t want to be rude.”
“We have no time to wait. Let go of my hand before I make you.” Eri glared at her brother until he finally released his hand.
Eri knocked again, but this time even louder. The rumbling inside the room eased Eri’s irritation. The door opened and revealed a half-naked man with a towel around his waist. His drenched hair was dripping to the floor while behind him, steam was coming out from the bathroom. It was clear, he had recently left the shower. He looked at them with a raised eyebrow. “You guys are a bit early, you know that, right?”
Bor’s cheek reddened as he fumbled to cover his eyes. Eri averted her gaze while pretending to cough. “We didn’t know you were in the shower.” She crossed her arms. “I’m here early about the… Oath.”
“Oh, yeah… Let me get something to wear first.” Jonathan turned around and revealed a massive tattoo of a bear’s face on his upper back. Beneath the bear’s face, an inscription is written in Latin:
Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.
“If I can not bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell,” muttered Eri after she translated it.
“Whoops, you’re not supposed to see that.” Jonathan entered his bathroom and brought the uniform with him. “Do me a favor and forget about the tattoo. It’s an old one, and I prefer to keep it in the past.”
Bor was surprised to see the room. The entire wall had been painted to resemble a landscape of greenery and mountains. Above him, a night sky stretched throughout the ceiling, it must have taken him a while to do this. Even so, a few corners haven’t finished being painted yet. “Did you draw all of this last night?”
“The painting?” yelled out Jonathan from the bathroom. “Sure. I was trying to keep myself busy. Do you like it?”
“I used the postcard I've collected and my experience as a reference. It's shoddy work, but I’m glad you like it.”
Eri turned her sight to the sleeping bed on the floor, then to the untouched bed in the room. “Why did you sleep on the floor?”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. I prefer the floor.” Jonathan made a few audible groans as he slipped into his clothes. “The bed was too soft for my taste.”
“I can put up a request to the administrator if you want a more firm bed,” Bor suggested as he cleaned up the empty paint’s bottles scattered across the floor.
“Don’t worry about it.” Jonathan stepped out of the bathroom, dashing as ever in his brand-new uniform. He struck a pose to showcase his bombastic look. “What do you think? Do I look good?”
“You look marvelous,” complimented Bor.
“No doubt. No doubt. No doubt. What about you, Eri?”
“You look presentable.” She said coldly before raising her gaze at my hair. “You should cut your hair. It’s a mess.”
“Noted. So, what’s next?” Jonathan rubbed his hands together with a big smile on his face,
Eri kneeled before Jonathan, lowered her head, and placed her trident beside her. “Under the eyes of my ancestors, I, Eri Pacifica, swear to complete my brother’s oath upon his demise.” She kept her eyes closed and lowered her head for a short moment. After taking a breath, she stood up once more and stored her trident on her back.
Bor looked away, there’s something he tried to keep hidden; a slight bitterness, perhaps.
“We should proceed to the lecture hall.” Eri left the room and waited for Jonathan to leave.
Jonathan turned to Bor and shrugged his shoulders before he left the room along with his friend. As they walked down the stairs, Jonathan noticed a woman lying on the sofa, groaning with an arm resting on the forehead.
She had a distinct look from the people around Jonathan. Her long hair was bathed in a dark crimson red for a starter and shifted slightly as she turned her red eyes surrounded with dark eyeliners to Jonathan. A few more ghastly groans escaped her dark red lips. She was wearing the same uniform as Eri except for a slight change from a turtle-neck to a white unbuttoned shirt.
The sickly woman didn’t make the effort to introduce herself. She was preoccupied with her terrible headache.
“Darling, I told you last night to take it easy with the drinks.” Another woman popped from the kitchen with a glass of water and a disappointed head shake.
Suddenly, Jonathan tripped over his foot and fell down the stairs. His face planted against the front door. Eri and Bor went wide-eyed and rushed to him. “Are you alright?” Bor turned Jonathan around and laid him against the wall.
“Ugh, can you keep it down? You guys are making my headache unbearable,” said the woman on the couch.
The woman from the kitchen walked to Jonathan and stood in front of him. She had an adorable laugh before asking, “What happened?”
Jonathan revealed his heart-shaped eyes and donned a dumb-looking grin. Bor tilted slightly to the left and noticed that those heart-shaped eyes were meant for the succubus behind him. Bor shook his head and sighed before he turned to Eri. “He’s fine. It’s because of her.” Bor gestured to the succubus.
Who could have blamed Jonathan for literally falling in love with a succubus? Especially one as arousing as her. She held her head high with those blue, large horns protruded from her forehead. And draped from her head was an even longer set of wavy hair that reached her waist. It was dipped in silver and ended with blue near the tip.
The most irresistible part about the succubus was her grand chest that radiated softness and firm. Even under that uniform, it was doubtful the buttons that held her shirt together were able to do the job, even though it’s on the brink of a breaking point. That’s not all, from her hourglass figure to her big succulent thighs, everything about her was sensuous even down to her seductive voice.
A bite of her bottom lips was enough to make Jonathan swoon.
She ran her finger down her neck to make sure the choker was still on, and it was. “Odd, did my choker lose its power?”
“No, at all. My friend here is still new to the mythic realm. He never met a succubus before, so forgive him for the condition he’s in,” Bor spoke up on the behalf of mumbling Jonathan.
“I don’t mind it all.” She lifted Jonathan’s chin with a single finger. “Hello there, I don't believe we met before. My name is Melody. What’s yours?” she purred.
“J-J-Jonath--.” He fumbled his name.
“It’s Jonathan,” Bor answered on the behalf of his friend.
A sudden whiff pulled Melody closer to him. She was so close that Jonathan could smell her sweet scent. Out of nowhere, she licked Jonathan’s right cheek. That sudden action sent Bor into a fluster and panicked at what to do. However, his sister was in a different mood altogether: a sour one. She pointed the tip of her trident at the succubus.
“Don’t make me say it.”
Melody raised her hands and backed away slowly.
Eri carried Jonathan single-handedly and left the house along with a panicked Bor. “Sorry about this. She means well. Please don’t take it to heart.” Bor managed to apologize before the door closed
Jonathan finally came to an unfamiliar sight. He found himself sitting across Bor and beside Eri in a tight, luxurious box. His eyes wandered to the window on his left, the sight seemed to change for every passing moment. Jonathan finally realizes they were in one of those horse-drawn carriages he saw yesterday.
“When did I get here?”
“A couple of minutes ago. You fainted after meeting that succubus earlier.”
“Oh, I remember it. I had no idea what came over me.”
“You should be careful around others. Not all here have good intentions.” Eri sat up straight with her arms crossed. “Your true nature should be kept hidden always, do you understand?” Though the question was directed at Jonathan, its true path was at Bor.
“Got it, but can you blame me? She was like a 100 out of 10. Woof.”
“Humans, and their needs to procreate.” Eri sighed, her hands lifted the bottom of her turtle-neck shirt and revealed a set of glistening abs. “If you must satisfy your urge.” She clicked her tongue in annoyance.
Both male’s eyes went wide as they panicked. Bor stopped her sister's hands from going further. “W-What? Are you mad?!”
“I’m not looking. I swear!” Jonathan shut his eyes closed with his hands.
“If I am to serve him, then I shall do so according to his wishes. Isn’t it clear that he required me to relieve his urges, or do you perhaps prefer my brother?”
That question sent Bor’s face to redden.
“What? No! What I was trying to say was that she was beautiful. It’s not like I’m going to bang her, or something.”
“You better not. She will find out what you are if you do so, and it’s dangerous for a human to lay with a succubus. They will drain you of your life force without even realizing it. So keep your distance. And if you ever find yourself in need of an urge for relief, I am available at any time,” said Eri with a straight face after she hid her exposed abs.
This woman was causing stress, unlike anything Jonathan had ever experienced.
Some kind of chant caught Jonathan's attention. He looked outside and saw a few people much like him protesting about something. Another group of what seems to be succubus chanted against them.
“What’s going on there?”
“The Nephilim are protesting against the new legislation that’s being discussed in the High Council. While the succubus is supporting the new legislation. It’s a fairly hot topic nowadays,” answered Bor.
“What is it about?”
“It’s about letting humans with high attunement to magic attend here and learn about their gift.”
“Ridiculous. Human and magic don’t mix well. Everyone seems to forget what happened during the last war,” scoffed Eri. “It’s bad enough we have to deal with the Jaeger.”
“The Jaeger?” The name was somewhat familiar to Jonathan.
“Human Hunters. They aren’t… nice people.” Bor averted his gaze.
“Nice? Pfft! They are murdering psychopaths with a tendency to chop our body into pieces and use it against us, or simply being made into a trophy.” Eri’s jaws tightened as she glared at the window.
Jonathan took notice to never bring the topic about Jaeger again. She has a very deep disdain for them, and it’s better to let it go. Maybe Jonathan could ask Bor about it when she’s not around.
Despite it all, the ride was uneventful. Jonathan was simply excited to ride a carriage because he never rode one before. It makes him feel like a high-born gentleman. They left the carriage and stepped into the academy courtyard. It came as a surprise for Jonathan when he saw all the damage that happened from the fight yesterday had disappeared into thin air.
“Magic, duh,” Jonathan muttered to himself.
He took one last look at the carriage before it left the courtyard. He turned back to Eri with an eyebrow raised, “Wait, can’t you fly?”
“I can, but you both can’t.”
“No wonder you’re grumpy. The ride must have been boring for you.”
Bor tapped on Jonathan’s shoulder. “Well, this is it. I need to get to my post. Eri will take over from here. See you later.” He left their side and waved to them before disappearing around the corner.
They made their way through the elegant hallways, along the way Jonathan made sure to wink and flirt at every succubus he encountered. Some of them replied with a lecherous grin, while others gave him a stern look. Jonathan couldn’t decide which one was more alluring.
“Do you have to do that?” Eri asked with a tinge of annoyance.
“You don’t get it.”
“It’s the whole concept of a succubus. We imagined them, drew them, put them in our fiction, and everyone agrees there’s this irresistible aura around them. They became this symbol of sexuality. How could they not? Look at them. Every succubus I saw today is different in the most alluring way possible. If you have a certain taste, three out of five of them checked that box and more.”
“We’re here.” She walked into the lecture hall, then took a seat in the front.
“I'm more near the window’s seat kinda guy.”
Eri let out a groan and joined Jonathan at the seat near the windows. Some of his classmates had already taken their seats in their niche group. Jonathan even spotted his housemates taking their seats at each of the preferred places, but not all of them are together. The succubus and the redhead woman sat together, while the dark-haired and green-skinned women took their seats away from each other and away from the other classmate.
Jonathan stared out of the window, already missing the fresh breeze. He scanned the spike fence and found nothing notable except for a tree that grew too close to it.
The class went quiet when a professor taller than the door entered the room. She had to duck down, so she could walk through the door. Her skin was pale as a dead body and had eerie black hair that reached under her waist. At first, she placed down a smooth stone with an unrecognizable letter etched on it. The stone itself was small compared to her hand, but in truth, it was too large for a normal person to grasp it without using both hands.
“Morning. My name is Professor Taka and I will be teaching you Magic Theory from now until you graduate from this academy. In accordance with what I said, please make sure you behave yourself during my lecture or risk facing my ire.”
“As you may see, I brought over a stone. It’s not a regular stone. This stone in particular has been enhanced with a single Sigil of power. Its functionality is to determine a person's attunement to magic. The stronger your access to spiritual energy, the brighter this stone will glow. Shall we start?” She pointed at the woman in front. “You. Give it a test.”
The woman nervously glanced around her before she left her seat. She stood in front of the table while her hand hovered above the stone. Professor Taka took the woman’s hand and gently lowered it down on the stone.
There’s no doubt about it, the stone glowed brightly, but not to the extent of blinding. The woman wore a smile on her face to see the glow. Professor Taka then removed the woman’s hand, “That is an average attunement for a Nephilim and almost all of you will have the same result.” She turned back to the woman. “You may return to your seat.”
“Now, one by one, you all shall take a turn and evaluate your attunement.”
As she instructed, each one of the students took a turn. The stone shone brightly as before, a few of them glowed a bit brighter than others while a few glowed dimmer than others.
Until it was Jonathan’s housemate’s turn, the red-haired woman. She placed her hand on top of it with a disinterested look and unlike the other, it glowed blindly in a red hue. The student’s eyes widened in disbelief.
Professor Taka clapped when the light dissipated. “As you may notice, we have a prodigy in our midst. As expected from one who has the blood of the Morningstar’s family in her veins. That’s all, Ms. Lucy. You may return to your seat.”
Murmurs of praises scattered among the students. Everyone stared at Lucy as she made her way to her seat. In response, Lucy rolled her eyes and laid her head on the table while covering her head with her arms. Melody, the Succubus, patted her friend’s back before it was her turn to place her hand on the stone.
Melody sauntered down the steps. The men in the class couldn’t help themselves but leer at the woman. Melody rested her hand on the stone. Unlike before but still amazing, the stone shone brightly in the color of pink. The professor clapped her hands. “I see we have another prodigy. You may return to your seat.”
Melody returned to her seat with pride in her gaze and the clapping of her peers.
A few students took their turns until it was another Jonathan’s housemate, the black-haired woman’s chance to prove herself. She took up her spot in front of the stone, she placed her hand, and it shone brightly the same as Melody, but in white. Professor Taka clapped her hands once more. “Another one, I see our class this year isn't short of talented people. You may return to your seat, Ms. Olivia.”
Again, a few more students took their turns until it was the green-skinned young woman's turn. Another of Jonathan's housemates. Her shoulders were in a slump as she kept herself as small as possible. It seems she isn't fond of the stare. She placed her hands, unfortunately, it didn't reach the level of an average student, but it shone in green.
The students snickered at the woman’s dim result as she walked to her seat. A grim look donned on her as the others started whispering unsightly topics about her.
However, as most students make fun of her, Jonathan on the other hand felt something about her from deep within him. A pulse of warmth. There’s something inside her, something beautiful, but Jonathan couldn't tell it what it was. As the feeling passed, it’s time for Eri to place her hand on the stone.
“Hey, good luck out there.” Jonathan put up a thumbs up.
“I appreciate it, but I don’t need it.”
Eri made her way down the steps and placed her hand on the stone. As expected from her, the stone glowed brightly the same as Melody, but in blue. Professor Taka clapped her hands. “I was expecting less on the account of your brother, but I see you are not your brother.”
“Of course, I’m not,” she said coldly before she returned to her seat.
“Amazing work, Eri.” Jonathan stood up and stretched his arms. “Let me show you how it’s done.”
Jonathan walked down the steps. Two people in the room were interested in the result of this test. One of them was Eri while the other was Melody. From the moment she met him, there’s something about him, she could smell it after she got close to him. A great power that could rival the massive crystal within this academy.
A short breath was necessary before Jonathan could place his hand on it. He rested his hand on the stone quickly and waited. A second passed, then a minute went by, but nothing happened.
Everyone started laughing.
Jonathan removed his hand and wore a disappointed look. Professor Taka glared at the other students and silenced their mocking laughs. She placed her hand on his shoulders. “Do not despair. Talents are useless without hard work. I’m sure you could excel in other areas.”
“Nah, it’s fine,” Jonathan said with a half-hearted grin.
He took a seat and stared out through the window. Disappointment bled from his gloomy gaze. Eri was about to reach for his shoulder, but stopped herself and returned her focus to professor Taka.
Melody stared at Jonathan from across the room. Lucy noticed it. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I thought… maybe I was wrong.”
“Whatever, I’m going to have a nap. And stop staring. People will think we’re weirdos.”
The class ended, Jonathan was so out of it that he couldn’t listen to what Professor Taka was explaining. He left the classroom with Eri and stopped to face his escort. “Hey, I’ll catch up to you later. I need to go to the bathroom.”
“I’ll wait,” said Eri.
“Okay…” Jonathan entered the bathroom and checked each stall. A few of them were occupied. Jonathan took the farthest one away from everyone.
After digging into his pocket, he took out a burner phone. He dialed in the numbers from the pager, and it rang. It only took a second for the other end to answer. A familiar feminine voice greeted Jonathan’s ear and caused his hand to tremble slightly. “Hello, kid.”
“It is so nice to hear your voice again. So, how’s life been treating you?” There is someone else in the room with Memory because Jonathan could hear the faint noise when a man is being suffocated by a plastic bag.
“I thought we had a deal?”
“Oh, a deal?”
“I know you know which one.”
Memory laughed. “Don’t be so dramatic, kid. I remember it, but you know I didn’t remember agreeing to it in the first place.”
“We had a deal. That was the last job. I paid what I owed, and you let me go.”
The phone went quiet. “I see… You did pay what you owed me. I guess you’re free then. I’m going to miss you, kid. Truly. You're always like a son to me. Oh, is there anything you need, you know where to find me.” The other end was cut off.
Jonathan breathed out a sigh of relief, he never thought it was this easy. He thought Memory would threaten him into joining her, but he guesses that she was more honorable than he realized.
He left the stall and washed his face in the sink while taking on a big smile. All he needed to do next was finding a way out of here.
After Jonathan left the bathroom, Eri and he went on to get lunch. The food seemed normal at first except for a few things that had questionable ingredients in it like an eyeball or a slithering tentacle that was still alive in the serving bowl. Jonathan just shrugged at it and picked the normal-looking one. It went unsurprisingly uneventful.
Jonathan stood in the middle of an open field alongside the other students. An older undine appeared from around the corner with a purple trident on her back. She looked over the class with baggy eyes and took a seat on a bucket. Her face doesn’t show delight when she takes a glance at them, disinterested at most.
“People called me Instructor Tok. You all can call me Tok. I am tasked to teach you all about Spells and Combat. Since this is our first class, all of you find a partner and start battling each other.”
As always, Jonathan confronted Eri with a proposal. She accepted with a cold nod as usual, and they headed toward an open space. They both start seizing each other up, Jonathan wore a devilish grin on her face. “You know I’ve seen you fight before, right?”
“I probably can take you down.”
Without a second to waste, Jonathan charged wildly at her, and the result was expected. It took only one hold for Eri to fling Jonathan upside down. A snicker escaped her with a small smile. “I doubt it.”
“Ouch.” Jonathan rested his head back on the soft ground. “But I did make you smile. That at least counts as a win for me.”
Eri offered her hand. It was surprising for her to do so, Jonathan agreed as he stared at her wide-eyed. She rolled her eyes and pulled Jonathan up again.
“Tok said Spells and Combat, right?” Jonathan took a look at his other classmates and found them slinging fireballs, air, earth, and water at each other with ease. “How do they even do that anyway?”
“Didn’t you listen to what Professor Taka explained earlier?”
“Nope. I was out of it.”
Eri sighed. “I’ll give you a simple explanation, so please listen closely. I dislike repeating myself.” She showed her empty hand. “Everything that exists has life force: the rock, the grass, the dirt, everything, non-living and living. That life force is what we call spiritual energy, and we as a sorcerer command it using our body and mind.”
From out of nowhere, a swirl of liquid appeared and hovered above her hand.
“What we can do with it is limitless, but there’s a catch. Too much spiritual energy running in your body can cause extreme fatigue or in the worst case: death.”
Jonathan pondered. “So, attunement is how much of that spiritual energy can run through a person’s body.”
“Good observation. The stronger your attunement is, the more powerful the spell becomes.”
“Woah, that means you really are strong. Yesterday, you summoned that storm without breaking a sweat.” Jonathan noticed the subtle prideful smile on Eri’s face. “A question, can I improve my attunement?”
“Unfortunately, no. Several people had tried it before, but none ever came close to producing a result, except for one person.” Eri paused for a second. “Dr. Victoria. However, the result is undesirable, to put it mildly. It had become a taboo afterward. None would dare to get near it.”
“Hmm, since I can’t sling any spells, why don’t we try battling again?”
“Are you sure?” Eri raised an eyebrow. “The result is still going to be the same.”
“Maybe… Kidding! Of course. I want to see how far I can get.”
Jonathan stood away from Eri and readied himself. He charged forward and once more he was tossed upside down. Despite being tossed aside twice now, Jonathan still kept going.
From where Tok sat, she stared at Jonathan and Eri. After the fifth time he was tossed aside, the undine stood up in frustration. She stormed toward them. Eri noticed the instructor coming toward them in a foul mood. Eri had thought she was coming toward her to scold her for being too rough with Jonathan, but surprisingly, she went to Jonathan instead.
“Do you think my class is a joke?!”
“Excuse me?” Jonathan raised his eyebrow and took a step back when Tok entered his comfort zone.
“You think I won’t notice?” Her ire attracted the attention of the students.
“I don’t understand.”
“Oh, I know what you’re capable of. If you want to keep playing dumb, go ahead, but this is my class, and you are under my rule. I don’t tolerate liars.” She turned to the Nephilim near her. “You two, fight him. Don’t stop until I say so.”
“Both of us, against him?” The two Nephilim glanced at each other and back at Tok.
“Do it, or I’m going to fail you both.” With the threat clear as day, they had no choice but to raise their fists against Jonathan.
Eri narrowed her eyes at Tok. “Have you gone insane?”
“Don’t interfere. That is an order.”
They both charged forward. Jonathan raised his arms to protect his head. Their fists connected against his forearms and sent a rush of pain up to his shoulders. One of them sent a kick toward Jonathan, he was about to dodge but saw the grin on Tok’s face. Instead, he took the kick against his chest and sent him back.
His face fell against the ground, he could barely breathe after that kick forced all the air out of his lungs. Both of Jonathan’s opponents stopped when they saw him having difficulty breathing.
“Don’t stop,” said Tok.
It was brutal. They kicked him endlessly while he was down. It was far from a fair fight. Jonathan had to curl up like a ball to avoid any further kick to his stomach. He took it all without a single yelp or groan.
“This won’t stop until you show what you are capable of.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” said Jonathan through gritted teeth, but it only angered Tok more. She took out her trident and stomped toward him.
Eri shattered the earth with her trident and stopped them from continuing. Tok and the other students turned their attention to her. “He is under my protection, and I will not allow any of this from going further.” She pointed the trident at Tok. “Do you understand me?”
Tok growled and lowered her trident. “Get him out of my class. I never want to see him again unless he takes my lesson seriously.”
Eri gently took Jonathan’s arm and helped him stand up again. With his arm against his chest, Eri brought Jonathan with her away from the class. As they headed toward the infirmary, Jonathan told her to stop and took a seat on the stone bench.
“A hell of a day, right?” laughed Jonathan, but flinched at the pain.
“I should have stopped her sooner. Damn it!” She stomped the edge of the bench and broke a piece of it.
“It’s okay. I’m fine. Just a couple of bruises here and there.” Jonathan smiled as he waved his hand nonchalantly. “Wow, I thought you didn’t care about me.”
“I don’t. You are my duty, and to let you get hurt is a failure to my duty.”
“Glad to know that.”
“I don’t mean it like that. Truthfully, I really don’t want to see you get hurt because you’re…”
“Because I’m?” Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you’ve fallen for me?”
She shot him down faster than a comet. “Don’t be ridiculous. Come on, I’m taking you to the infirmary.”
“I don’t need to go. I’m fine.” Despite Jonathan's reluctance, Eri forced him to go.
Commander Zey took a seat on the couch facing Professor Taka and Instructor Tok. “Sorry to intrude without a warning, but I wish to know what’s your opinion on Jonathan?”
Professor Taka started first, she placed the stone from her class on the coffee table. “He showed no attunement to magic. It’s disappointing, and he seemed to show a bit of enthusiasm for magic at first, but lost it after finding out his zero capability in it. I doubt he will make a great sorcerer.”
“Interesting. The report said he had tremendous power. Ms. Tok any opinion of your own?”
Tok tightened jaw relaxed as she glared. “I hate him. He’s a liar.”
“Care to elaborate on that?”
“He has strong knowledge in combat but wishes to keep it hidden. Heck, I think he is better than most of the students here. He’s not as strong as the others, but he is cunning. He likes to study his opponent. If he was given time, he probably could find a way to take down Eri.”
“Eri from the Undine Coalition Army?”
“That’s the one. That foolish girl didn’t even realize she’s being studied by him. Judging from his eyes alone, I can tell he’s been in battle before and probably did some horrible shit during it. I don’t trust him. Why is he here anyway?”
“I see. Interesting. He was related to the robbery. I might need to keep an eye on him,” Zey muttered to herself.
“Hey? I ask you a question.” Tok slammed his fist on the coffee table.
The stone broke apart, which was a shock to Professor Taka because for all the years she had taught and used the stone, never once it was chipped or damaged or even cracked. The Sigil that etched into it was not only to evaluate, but to strengthen the stone from breaking, and it’s a powerful one.
A small marble shimmered among the cracks. She reached in and took it out. Inside the glass marble was a swirl of golden light crashing to one another and exploded into miniature explosions.
“Please Professor Taka explain to me what am I seeing here?”
“I will need to explain how the stone worked first. To put it simply, I designed the stone with a simple circuit of Sigils. Through it, the spiritual energy enters a person's body and exits the same way. From that, it determines how much energy a person can pull into their body, but to activate the stone one must pull the energy into the stone first.” Taka looked perplexed at the marble.
“No wonder it didn’t work. That young man didn't pull any spiritual energy but expelled his own. This marble is the result, it was trapped inside the stone. Judging by how potent this energy is. I’ll say it could rival the crystal on this floating island. Probably more. Incredible. I need to study him.”
“Zey, who in the hell did you bring to the academy?”
“Fear not, he poses no danger to us or the students.”
“It can’t be! This energy signature. It’s Holy Light. Only a few can produce it: Seraph and… Saint.” Professor Taka glanced back at Zey with narrowed eyes. “He’s a Saint!” Immediately, she placed down the marble and kneeled before it.
“A Saint? Zey, are you nuts? Do you know what will happen if people know about this?” Taka was at the edge of her seat with a glare.
“I would recommend you both to keep this information to yourself and must not be spoken outside this room. Do you understand?”
They both nodded their heads.
“Exceptional. No one shall know about this, not even him. We must keep his true nature a secret until he can protect himself. As for our next move, I recommend you both do what you are tasked to do and continue as before. And I repeat: under no circumstance that other people know of it, am I making myself clear?”
“Extremely,” answered Professor Taka.
“What did I get myself into?” sighed Tok.
“One other thing, if any information about his true nature came undone, then I shall hold you two accountable for it. Now shall we have tea together?”
Jonathan wandered the hallways alone after Eri left to meet someone else. Though he was warned to stay in the infirmary, Jonathan politely refused and left without her knowing it. He took note of every hallway, door, and room he found. It seemed there were endless of them.
Stopped to rest, Jonathan lowered his gaze to where his bruises used to be. The nurse did a good job of fixing them. He recently found out that there are more uses to this magic thing than slinging spells, apparently, it can even heal. Handy.
A commotion caught Jonathan's attention, he turned to the window and saw his housemate: three Nephilim surrounded the green-skinned girl. Based on their attitude, it was far from a friendly get-together. However, since the window was opened, Jonathan heard their conversation.
“Look at my friend's jacket here. Do you see this stain here? It’s your fault because you went overboard during combat class.”
“I-I didn’t do anything,” her voice was barely audible.
“You calling my friend here a liar?”
“We didn’t even meet during combat class.”
“There you go again, calling us a liar again.” He opened up his palm and a ball of fire appeared above it. “I think you still don’t get it. Why don’t we show her a few tricks to make her understand.”
“Hey,” Jonathan called.
The three Nephilim raised their gaze to see Jonathan peering out of the window. “Who… Wait, you’re that loser who failed magic theory and got beat up during combat class. Hahaha, are you trying to be a hero?”
“Nope. Just a concerned passer-by.”
Jonathan’s answer irritated the Nephilim. “Concern? Why don’t you come down here, and we can give you something to be concerned about.”
“Nope. I’m perfectly fine here.” A grin appeared. “Doesn’t the academy have a rule about using your magic against others?”
“So what? Are you going to stop us?”
“Nope, but I’m sure a guard could stop you. How about I give you guys a chance to run before me and that girl over there gives our damn best to scream.”
The other Nephilim glanced at their leader, doubts now clouding their mind. He clicked his tongue. “Whatever, we will be back.” He put out the fire and turned his back. “Be careful, new blood. You’re on our list now.”
The Nephilim disappeared around the corner. The green-skinned girl looked at Jonathan. “Why did you do that? Now they are aiming for you. You shouldn’t help me.”
“Wow.” Jonathan laughed. “You’re welcome, by the way.”
She pouted her lip and averted her gaze. “Thank you.”
“Don’t worry about them. I can deal with it later. Hey, I never caught your name before.”
“My name is Ciara…”
“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Ciara. My name is Jonathan Jameson, but you can call me Jonathan or John for short.” Jonathan heard his name being called out. “I got to go, Ciara. If you see me again, don’t be a stranger.”
Ciara watched Jonathan leave the window sill with a bright smile on his face and a wave. She didn't even get to wave back at him. Ciara thought he was an odd fellow. They both didn’t even know each other, but this man risked being targeted by those bullies to help her. She always thought the outside world was cold and heartless, but it seems she had to reevaluate her perception of it once more.
Eri was in a foul mood indeed. First, Jonathan ignored her warning, and now he persuaded her to bring him to the city. She wanted to avoid going to the city because of the danger that might lurk here, but this man insisted, he even begged like a dog to go. How could she say no after that?
A frown was all she wore to show her disapproval of this idea. However, Jonathan on the other hand was beaming with a smile as he explored each alley, corner, and store that this city had.
Truly it was a magical place, some things didn’t exist back in the human world, and things that may seem normal, but in fact a complex magical device that disguised as such. For example, this kitchen knife can change its blade according to the user's will, such as turning the blade into a whisk and even a spoon.
There are even magical creatures that live within this city. Such as Pixies, Wyvern, Bicorn and that’s not all. For every new alley he entered, Jonathan would brim in excitement to find out half the myths he learned about back when he was a kid, existed and lived on this floating island.
Halt. At first, Jonathan thought it was his mind playing tricks on him, but upon another look, he could not believe it. The steel sign said it all: Succubus Maid Café. Jonathan was so excited, he did a jig before he sauntered into the alley.
Eri groaned while her eyes rolled to the side. There’s nothing she could say to him from going in there, so she reluctantly followed.
Entered a realm of adoration and sensuality. Jonathan floated across the establishment with eyes widened and a grin. He couldn’t believe how many kinds of succubi there were in this café. From blue to green to red and even human-colored skins. That’s not all from curly, straight, sharp, dull, tall, or even short horns. But it doesn’t end there, curvy, muscular, slender, short, and more. A few even showed off their leathery and devilish wings.
Yet, that wasn’t the best part about it. The best part about it was they all are in a maid costume.
“Why are we here?” Eri asked as she waved off one of the succubi.
“I won’t miss it for the world.” Jonathan scanned the room for the perfect spot and couldn’t believe who he saw. He leaned close to Eri, which caused her to perk up, “Is that Dr. Victoria?”
She scanned the room and couldn’t see Dr. Victoria among the customers. “What are you talking about? There’s no way Dr. Victoria would come to this kind of place.”
“But…” Jonathan squinted her eyes and could clearly see the headmistress in the booth with a poor disguise consisting only of a surgical mask with a single closed eye’s Sigil and black sunglasses. “There she is. I mean, it’s obvious.” Jonathan pointed at her.
Eri focused her gaze at where Jonathan pointed, but couldn’t see anybody except for a middle-aged Nephilim with a bald head. “Are you certain? Because that’s not her.”
Jonathan rolled his eyes and pulled Eri toward the doctor. He stood in front of the table, and leaned closer, “I never pegged you for someone who is into this kind of stuff, Dr. Victoria.”
Immediately, she went frantic and pulled me along with Eri into the booth with her. “Unbelievable, I had thought my veil was properly working.”
“Dr. Victoria, is that really you?” Eri's eyes widened in surprise.
“Judging by your friend’s new revelation, it seemed my veil was working properly. So, that leaves us to you, Mr. Jonathan. I think you have a secret ability.” She rubbed her chin and took a closer look at Jonathan.
“I do?” said Jonathan with a raised eyebrow.
“By my hypothesis, your sight may have an ability to see through the veil. I wonder what else your eyes can reveal. However, that is a question for another time. I see you are here not simply to ruin my leisure.” Her sight wandered to the passing maid with a swaying hip. “Are you a fellow admirer of beauty?”
“Indeed, I am.”
Dr. Victoria shook Jonathan’s hand with a hearty laugh, and the young man couldn’t help but laugh along with him. None of them expected they would have such common interests. This might be the start of a strong kinship between them.
A succubus with a slender body and a maid uniform made too short to hide anything underneath sauntered to them with a sultry smile. “Victor, you brought friends today? Aww…” She looked disappointed in an adorable fashion.
Dr. Victoria gently took the succubus’s hand. “Why are you so disappointed, my darling?”
“It’s just… I’m a bit jealous of your friends. I just don’t want them stealing your attention from me.” She pouted while swaying her hip.
“Never, my darling. My eyes are only for you.” Dr. Victoria laid a kiss on her hand. The succubus giggled with blushed cheeks.
“So, what will it be today?”
“The usual for me. A special for my friend here. What about you, Eri?”
Eri sighed. “Just a cup of coffee.”
“A special?” The succubus gasped. She turned to Jonathan. “You’re a lucky customer, sir. May I have your hand.”
“What for?” I asked.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Jonathan. Take my word, no harm will come to you. Only a bit of pain.”
“Okay…” Jonathan extended her hand to the succubus.
Out of nowhere, the succubus bit gently into his finger and licked the trickle of blood vigorously until the bleeding stopped. She moaned heavily before breathing sensually as if she was in deep ecstasy. Her arm propped up against the table to keep her from falling to her knees. With a moan, she used her other hand to reach underneath her skirt.
Jonathan sat there with wide eyes and a dumb grin. He had no idea what’s going on. However, it doesn’t seem bad at all. From Jonathan’s perspective, the succubus seems to be in heat.
Eri on the other hand pinched the bridge of her nose with a disappointed head shake.
“I see now.” She squealed in ecstasy while her pupil turned heart-shaped. “I know the perfect gal for you. You have quite the strong flavor, sir. I will be back quickly, I promised.”
After the succubus left, Dr. Victoria turned to Jonathan. “What do you think of my floating island?”
“I think it’s an incredible place you got here. The citizens here are happy and everything is well maintained, but I have only been here for a short while, I can't really say much until I saw the entirety of it.”
“I’m glad to hear your opinion. I aimed to make this city a place where everyone could be themselves and live side by side in harmony. No matter what their backgrounds were. It’s a place of opportunity to start over. And I want to provide them with the best safety and comfort anyone could have.” Dr. Victoria let out a genuine smile. “It’s an ambitious dream, but not an impossible one. Well, at least, I hope it is.”
The succubus came back with another of her species, but this one was dressed in a formal maid outfit with a longer skirt while her hair was tied into a bun similar to what a mid-century maid would have. Her eyes were cold, so did the thin lips she had, she stared at Jonathan as if he was a bug. In her hands was a tray of omelet rice and a fresh cup of orange juice, along with what Eri and Dr. Victoria ordered.
Jonathan’s jaw dropped while his heart throbbed to the brink of explosion.
She set the food on the table and took a seat right beside Jonathan. The other maid took a seat beside Dr. Victoria. The maid beside Jonathan took out a bottle of ketchup and out of nowhere blush so adorably that it melted Jonathan’s heart. “Thank you for waiting, Master. May I include my Love to make this omelet rice more delicious?” She covered her mouth and averted her gaze, while still giving him a few cute glances.
“Y-You may,” Jonathan stumbled the words out.
The maid succubus drew a perfect heart on the omelet rice. With her hands, she formed a heart and shyly swayed her shoulder from side to side while chanting, “D-Doki. Doki. Doki. Lovely, Lovely, become tastyーKyun!” She accidentally bit her tongue near the end, and her cheeks reddened even more than before.
“Kyun?... Kyun...” Jonathan fainted right there and right at that moment. His heart couldn’t take it anymore. His tolerance for such cuteness had overloaded.
“Master?!” yelled the maid succubus as she worriedly tugged his shirt.
Dr. Victoria glanced around her in panic. The maid beside her stood up and screamed. Eri facepalmed herself while rolling her eyes to the side.
The sun was shining upon them while the wind blew gently against the foliage. The rustling of the grass and leaves brought a sense of peace and tranquility to the setting. Jonathan blinked furiously as he gained his sense of self. It had taken some time for Jonathan to wake up from his unexpected slumber, and when he did, a terrible headache soon followed.
Eri sat beside him with a smile on her face as she stared at the calming view. It was a rare sight to see Eri with a smile, and Jonathan was lucky for it. However, the undine hasn’t noticed Jonathan had been awake for a minute now.
“Nice view?” teased Jonathan.
A cold exterior replaced her smile. “It was until you woke up.”
“Ouch… Did I faint again?” Jonathan shifted into a sitting position and scratched the back of his head.
“Fortunately for me, yes. I was getting irritated the longer we stayed there.”
“Have a bit of fun, Eri.” Jonathan stretched his arms up in the air. “Don’t be so uptight.”
“Your idea of fun is disgusting and raunchy. My idea of fun is watching the gorgeous scenery with a good novella or a flute in my hands.” Eri sighed longingly as she took in the view of the city.
“A flute?” Jonathan raised an eyebrow. “Woah. Are you any good with it?”
“Hmm, I have no idea. I never played it in front of an audience before.”
“We should jam together. I am a demon with a guitar.”
“A demon? I hope not. A demon would be most unwelcome here. If you ever see one, you better run toward the other direction. A creature so malevolent should not be taken lightly.” A frown appeared on Eri’s face.
“It was just an expression. I’m not really a demon, not that I know of.”
“What is this ‘Jam’ you talked about earlier?” Eri raised an eyebrow at him. It was a genuine question because Eri hasn’t explored the human realm except for a couple of missions, and usually, she stays away from humans. She deemed any deviation from her mission an unnecessary risk.
“You really don’t know, do you? Okay… Uh, it’s basically we play musical instruments together as a pastime activity.”
“I see. It doesn’t sound bad at all. It might be interesting. If you are willing to show me, I would love to jam together.”
“Radical.” Jonathan turned his sight to the crowd of people gathered around a gated building. “What’s that about?”
Eri returned her gaze to where Jonathan was looking. “Oh, I believe they are here for the Nephilim ambassador.”
“Let’s go and check it out.” Jonathan stood up. Without a warning, he jogged toward the crowd.
“Wait, there are too many people. We need to consider your safety.”
Jonathan waved at Eri with a bright smile before continuing toward the crowd. Eri dropped her chin with a sigh then smiled before chasing after him. Jonathan neared himself to the edge of the crowd. At the front, Jonathan could see people holding signs from the protest earlier today.
A carriage with white horses drove down the street. It was quite the extravagant cart with blackened windows and gold ornamental attachments. Though it was not without any protection as a dozen Nephilim with black feathery wings and in full plate armor led and followed behind the carriage.
Jonathan was awed at the sight. If he could get one of those, it would certainly fetch a high price in the market. That gold ornamental wasn't just painted gold, it was made with gold.
Something caught Jonathan's attention, it wasn’t good. A hooded person walked behind him with a scent that he was too familiar with. The scent of death. Jonathan turned his head and he was walking toward an alley. On the back of his hoodie was the same Sigil that was on Dr. Victoria’s mask.
It was not his place to chase after someone, so he better stay here and enjoys the excitement. Besides, going after him will only anger Eri more than necessary. He was already on her bad side.
“You look troubled?” Eri appeared on my side.
“Just wondering where Bor is right now.”
“He’s right there, near the gate.” Eri pointed at the familiar figure propped up near the gate with his trident by his side.
“Aww, he looked so cute over there.”
A scream cut through the air. Panic soon arose among the crowd. It caught the attention of all the guards, even Eri pushed through to see the cause, but Jonathan stayed behind and turned his sight at the same alley where the hooded figure took. In theory, he still could catch up to him. It’s only been a short while after he entered that alley.
However, the question is whether he should involve himself?
Jonathan sighed. Walking away was a good option, but Jonathan wasn’t known for his sensibility. Before anyone noticed, Jonathan had followed the trail the hooded figure took. Based on his target’s demeanor, Jonathan could tell that he was arrogant. Despite the panic he ensured, the figure wasn’t even worried about getting caught because it didn't take long for Jonathan to find him in another alley.
With a calm sigh, Jonathan calmly followed him. However, the stalking came to an end when suddenly, the hooded figure took off into a run. Jonathan’s eyes perked up at the speed the figure had. He could probably beat the number one Olympic runner. He facepalmed himself when he realized he was enamored by the person’s speed that he had forgotten to chase after him.
Groaning at himself, he turned to an opened window on his left. Without a second to waste, Jonathan leaped through the window and launched himself into a run. His sudden appearance alarmed the shop owner. However, he made it his priority to apologize before exiting the shop.
His shortcut works as expected because the hooded figure can be seen around the corner. Jonathan picked up the pace but soon found out even he can’t keep it up for long. A question flashed through his mind: does everyone run like this? Because if everyone does, Jonathan needs to step up his game.
The hooded figure took a sharp turn into a store.
Never missing a beat, Jonathan went into the store. Turns out the store was selling tableware, but lucky for him, Jonathan was considered one of the best dart thrower in his generation or so he claimed.
He dug into the display and took everything with a single clutch. He apologized to the owner before climbing up the stairs.
The hooded figure met the end of the hallway and was trapped. Jonathan was gasping for air when he caught up to him. “It has been a while. Give me a few minutes.”
Despite Jonathan’s plea, the hooded figure took a step back and was about to charge through the wooden wall.
“Oh no, you don’t.” He threw one of the cutlery at him with pinpoint accuracy. It was supposed to stick his clothes to the wall but instead bounced back. He intended to throw a knife, but what he threw was a spoon.
“Out of all the things I could grab! A bunch of spoons and forks, really?”
The hooded figure broke through the wall while Jonathan threw more spoons at him. It did annoy the hooded figure at least but didn’t slow him down.
Jonathan heard a child yelp, he immediately went after him.
The hooded figure had taken a child with him and ran toward the opened window.
He launched himself onto the roof of the next building.
Jonathan peered out of the window and looked up. It was too tall for him to climb, but the gap between the buildings was short. He took out all the forks and focused on a straight path up that he could use. It only took him a few seconds to figure it out, he backed away and with precise accuracy, he embedded each fork up the wooden support and gave himself a makeshift ladder.
He leaped and slithered up with ease.
The hooded figure glanced back and noticed that Jonathan was still hot on his trail.
“Let the child go.”
As a last-ditch effort and against what Jonathan meant when he said ‘Let the child go’ the hooded figure flung the child over the edge while he took off running in another direction.
Jonathan gritted his teeth, turned abruptly, and jumped off the edge to catch the child. He brought the child within his embrace, then angled his back to face the brick-paved road beneath him, so his body would take the impact.
He waited for the inevitability, but when he opened his eyes, he beamed with a smile at his guardian angel. “Eri, you’re a sight to behold.” Though Jonathan was excited to see her, she wasn’t.
Eri hovered down and when her feet touched the ground, she dropped Jonathan with a frown.
Jonathan let out a yelp as his back fell against the brick path. “Right, I deserved that.” The little boy wiggled out of his grapes and scattered off to his concerned parents. Jonathan stood up again with a sore back.
He turned his sight to the fruit vendor beside him. “Is that mango? I love mango. I wonder if we could have some,” grunted Jonathan.
“Jonathan!” Bor ran up to him with a worried look.
A crowd of guards circled Jonathan and his two friends. Eri frowned and crossed her arms, “See what you had done?”
“Mr. Jonathan, you are hereby charged with disturbing the peace, reckless endangerment of civilians, and interference of investigation. Please do not resist, or we will be required to use necessary force,” ordered the guard.
“Well…” With a charming smile and sleight of hand, he slipped one of the mangoes into his pocket. “By the way, I’m not resisting, so there’s no need for force.”
After an hour of his arrest, Jonathan found himself in the same room he had been in yesterday. Commander Zey and Dr. Victoria walked in, one of them had a frown while the other found it difficult to hold her laugh.
With an amused smile, Dr. Victoria took a seat. “How shall I say this, you are in a grim situation. Escaping from a crime scene is not a favorable image. Care to explain?”
Jonathan started laughing, “I understand. Look, there was this guy… with a gray hoodie. He was suspicious, so I chased after him and he ran away. But, I lost him when he threw a child off the roof, and you know what happened next.”
Dr. Victoria turned to Commander Zey and with reluctance, she nodded, “Everything you had said has been true except for one thing. The witness said there was no hooded figure, in fact, there were several suspects, but none match your description.”
“The Sigil. It had a symbol like your mask, Dr. Victoria, but bigger. And it was on his back.”
Dr. Victoria pondered, “If what you said is true, the suspect might have used a veil. Still, that doesn’t narrow down our options. It is a simple veil, accessible to everyone if they have the knowledge and magic to do so.”
“Mr. Jonathan, are you aware of what exactly happened in front of the embassy today?” asked Commander Zey.
“Not really. I think it's something awful because that creep gave me a shiver.”
“It’s worse than you think.” Commander Zey placed down a few pictures of a mutilated Nephilim.
Surprisingly, Jonathan didn’t flinch away from the gruesome sight. Instead, the stab wounds on the victim’s chest caught Jonathan’s interest.
Commander Zey raised his eyebrow, “So, you are accustomed to this kind of sight?”
Jonathan’s eyes perked at the question. He recoiled back with an exaggerated disgust expression. “Eww, what is that?” It was not the best acting he could muster, but it’s better than nothing.
“Mr. Jonathan, it would be a waste of time if you kept playing the innocent card. We already knew who you were.”
Jonathan ran his finger through his hair, then sighed. He tapped on the table as his mind concocted a plan to escape. He reached for the mango in his pocket and a spoon, then enjoyed his mango with it.
“Escape is unwise, Mr. Jonathan.”
“It’s a force of habit. So, you can read minds now?”
“Not at all, your gaze had betrayed you. I counted six times every time you took a peek at the door behind me.”
“If you know who I am, then why let me attend here?”
Dr. Victoria entered the conversation. “Because I have faith in you, Mr. Jonathan.”
“Faith in me? You already know who I am. What I did. It’s not something you can look past, Doctor.”
“Well, I did.” She smiled. “We all are not perfect creatures, Mr. Jonathan. Some of us have done an unforgivable act, but that doesn't mean we can’t have a second chance.”
“Great,” Jonathan said sarcastically. “What about you, Commander Zey? You have faith in me too?” Jonathan joked.
“Never, absolutely not. I think you are dangerous and should be kept in a cell with the keys thrown into the sea. However, I do have faith in Dr. Victoria’s decision.” Commander Zey turned to the headmistress before returning to Jonathan.
“That’s the correct response, and you’re smart for thinking so. Want some?” asked Jonathan as he extended the mango to them. Commander Zey shook her head. Dr. Victoria took a piece and placed it in her mouth, she moaned at its sweetness. “Anyway, what now?”
Commander Zey placed a shield-shaped badge with Lady Justice as the emblem on the table. “I want you to work for us as an Inquisitor. With the condition that your position as one should not be known to the public. You will have to work alone on this case.”
“You know what you are asking of me, right? Once I get going, there’s no turning back. Not that you don’t know what I am capable of. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, so, what do I get in return?”
Dr. Victoria entered the conversation, “Do this for us, and you may leave this place with a hefty amount of wealth.”
“You’re going to let me go just like that?”
“Of course, Mr. Jonathan. Though it saddened me that you wish to leave this place, I do not want to keep anyone here against his wishes. Do we have a deal?” Dr. Victoria extended her hand for a shake.
With a smile, Jonathan took her hand. “Deal. Hmm, I do have a question. Why did you choose me? You must have others that are more capable than me.”
“The victim is a spy for the Nephilim government.”
Jonathan already started to regret the deal. This investigation was not as easy as he expected it to be because spies are troubling. They are secretive and come with a ton of trouble. This is going to be dangerous, he should have asked for more details before he accepted the deal.